Back To Stories

The 2005 Everest Journals,

“Running Back To Kathmandu”.

By: Mike Swarbrick.

 Sun. Mar. 20th, 2005.  9:20 p.m. E.S.T., (8:05 a.m., Mon. Mar. 21st. Nepal).

 Namaste! (Greetings!) From Ben, Shaunna and yours truly. 

First off, I’d like to thank the Canadian border officials for my educational four hour visit due to suspicious satellite equipment exportation; Air Canada for tagging our 15 hockey bags of climbing and communications equipment for Kimberly, B.C. instead of Kathmandu, Nepal, and the Delhi Airport Authority in India for pulling this gear off the plane instead of forwarding it directly to the Kimberly Hockey Association.

     We arrived yesterday to a wonderful Aloha style greeting, c/w beautiful flower necklaces, from our old friend Kili Sherpa. It was great to see him and climbing Sherpa’s Lakpa Norbu and Lakpa Tsiri once again. They delivered us to our new temporary home at the Kathmandu Guest House and helped us re-organize our equipment and food supplies for the long trek to Mount Everest. My friend, Lakpa Tsiri then took me for a wild motorcycle ride on his thirty-year-old Royal Enfield Bullet in search of a few additional expedition items.

     If you ever have the opportunity to ride the back of a motorcycle through the jammed, packed streets of Kathmandu, I highly recommend that you avoid it at all cost. At recklessly, careless speeds, we narrowly avoided at least four million trucks, cars, bikes, pedestrians, cows, dogs, chickens, goats and their cumulative exhaust, if you know what I mean.

     The broken streets of cobble and dirt here in the market district known as Thamel, are very much alive with the mingling of merchants, tourists, beggars, thieves, the Kings soldiers and other assorted citizens. It’s an exciting place that draws many people to visit and entices them to stay. In my two visits here, I’ve met a number of individuals, including the famous Himalayan mountaineering chronicler Elizabeth Hawley, who came here years ago to climb, trek and to write and due to the powerful, intriguing allure of this mountainous region, have not left. Miss Hawley was one of the first Woman foreign correspondents and arrived here in 1960 as a journalist for the Reuters News Agency and is now recognized globally as the unparalleled authority on Himalayan climbing and climbers. She maintains extensive expedition archives and is presently the mountaineering correspondent for no less than ten agencies and magazines.       

     My job here as media technician presently involves setting up numerous laptop computers, satellite data modems and the satellite video broadcast equipment in anticipation of our first live video and audio transmissions on Tuesday March 22nd to Telecom Ottawa, the Ottawa Carleton District School Board, New R.O. TV and the CHUM Ottawa Radio Network.

     While I write this, Ben and Shaunna are training hard for their upcoming summit attempts in early May.  Our ongoing expedition preparations will keep us here for another five days before we depart on the precarious flight into the mountain village of Lukla. Here we’ll begin our fifty-kilometer trek up the Khumbu Valley and glacier that leads to Mount Everest.

Back To Stories